The Federal Government Voted Against Declaring A 'Climate Emergency'
The Greens and Labor have failed to persuade parliament to declare a climate emergency, with the government voting down the measure.
Greens MP Adam Brandt attempted to bring on a vote in federal parliament's lower house on Tuesday, in a move supported by Labor and the opposition's climate spokesman, Mark Butler.
"Climate change is a significant threat to our economy, natural environment, farming communities and national security," the motion put forward by Butler reads.
It notes that Australia's emissions have been rising in recent years, and that "the solution to climate change requires concerted international cooperation to limit the production of greenhouse gases".
The motion called on the lower house to affirm that "the threat posed by climate change on the future prosperity and security of Australia and the globe constitutes a climate change emergency", and to renew the country's commitment to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement.
"This is an opportunity for every single member of the government to take a stand because history will judge where people line up on this vote," Bandt told parliament on Tuesday.
"History will look back and ask whether or not we had to courage to tell it like it is."
However, the motion ultimately failed, being voted down 65 votes to 72.
All government members present, plus independent MP Bob Katter, voted against the measure. Labor, as well as crossbenchers Bandt, Rebekha Sharkie, Helen Haines, Andrew Wilkie and Zali Steggall, voted for the climate declaration.
Emission Reduction Minister Angus Taylor quickly shrugged the proposition off, saying it was all symbolism and not practical.
Bandt later tweeted that he planned to "keep the pressure up", and signalled that a similar motion may be raised again in the parliament in future.
Some three million Australians are currently living in areas where their local councils have declared climate emergencies.
The South Australian upper house became the first legislative body in the country to declare a climate emergency last month, following in the footsteps of parliaments in the UK, Canada, France, Portugal, Argentina, and Ireland.
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has given world leaders an 11-year deadline to act on rising global temperatures or risk irreparable damage to the planet.
To avoid reaching this tipping point, scientists advise that global greenhouse gases must be reduced by 45 percent by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050.
Tuesday's failed motion comes after more than 344,000 people signed a parliamentary petition calling for a climate emergency declaration -- the largest e-petition ever.
According to a Lowy Institute poll released earlier this year, climate change is considered a "critical threat" to our national interests by almost two-thirds of Australians -- ranking it a higher serious concern than terrorism.